Sunday, January 03, 2010

Malta Day 2-Valleta

Valleta street scenes (2)

So, you are the Grandmaster of the Order of St. John and you’ve been given the island of Malta by the Holy Roman Emperor, Charles V, as your base operations.

In return, you agree to pay a rent of one falcon per year (yep, the Maltese falcon) and you now have a home after having been evicted from Rhodes by Suleiman, the leader of the Ottoman Empire.

What’s more, he’s already attacked you on Malta and you see just how vulnerable you are.

So, if you are Jean de la Vallette, you commission the building of one of the world’s first grid-based, fortified cities…and heck, it is even named after you, Valletta, to defend against the coming invasion (which you know will happen…and in 1565, the Great Siege of Malta, it does.)

Day 2 of the Malta Experience was walking this fine city, seeing its glorious central Cathedral (St. John’s co-Cathedral), the ornate Grandmaster’s Palace and Armory, the gardens and the harbor it overlooked (as well as the other cities it defended as a result.)

A great study in military strategy and urban planning.

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